Malayan Rainforest Conservation Station

Location
Malaysia
Length
1 to 4 weeks
Housing
Hostel
Age
16 - 100 years
92 travelers are looking at this program

About This Program

Malaysia is blessed with a high biodiversity of wildlife. Unfortunately, many of its most emblematic animals are under severe threat.

You will help protect Malaysia’s most amazing animals by going on jungle patrols on the borders of Malaysia's largest national park, Taman Negara. The borders are where poaching numbers are highest due to the small strip of forest left connecting the wild animals living in Taman Negara to the rest of the wild animals living in Malaysia.

Through the treks, you will collect valuable footprint data of various jungle animals and also help to dismantle any snares found. A primary goal of the program is to educate the local community on the importance of animal conservation.

Highlights

  • Help our team to track human and animal activities in the jungle
  • Enjoy an overnight camping trip with the Batek while foraging and cooking in the forest
  • Reduce the chances of animals getting trapped by snares by locating potential spots for animal snares and destroying them
  • Aid our efforts to conserve caves in Merapoh by going caving
  • Immerse yourself in local Malay culture and taste authentic Malay cooking

ECO Walks

These jungle walks are fascinating and will really allow you to feel like one of the animals in the forest whilst looking out for signs of poachers. If any snares are found, the GPS locations will be recorded and then they will be destroyed. Even old discarded snares continue to catch animals so it is vital that they are removed to prevent any further harm. If you’re keen to develop the skills needed for rainforest conservation, you will also be taught how to use GPS for location recording! Here, you will learn how to log the coordinates of any pug marks, snares, land clearings or road kill found.

Walks are generally 3-5 hours long depending on the group and the route chosen, and are at a slow pace to enable the guides to search for tracks and animal signs. Although the humidity and inevitable encounters with leeches is not for the faint hearted, this is an adventure to remember for a lifetime!

Limestone Caving

There are over 70 limestone caves in the Merapoh region. The caves are fantastic – some even have rivers and waterfalls inside creating the most fantastic scenery. These caves are home to various animals including thousands of swiflets that group together at sunset and can be seen flying around Gua Musang, a nearby town. The Batek people have used these caves for centuries, as can be seen by the many cave drawings that can be found inside.

Local Tribal Village and Orang Asli

The Local ‘Orang Asli’ (Malay for ‘original people’) are from the Batek tribe. They speak their own language – Batek, and most of them still live part of their lives in the rainforest. The Batek people are true nomads and are even classified by some anthropologist as pygmies due to their short stature.

It is not part of the Batek traditions to destroy an area totally and they will move on before all the resources are depleted. They rely on the forest as their ‘supermarket’ and respect it as the home of their ancestors. Originally the Orang Asli used bows and arrows but early this century they converted to blowpipes. Today, they still use 1.5 metre bamboo blowpipes and poisonous darts (dipped in the sap of the Ipoh Tree) to hunt on a daily basis. The survival of the Orang Asli in the rainforest is partly dependent upon the use of limestone caves for shelter.

Volunteers staying for 1 week or more will learn bushcraft skills from the Batek tribe and may get the chance to go camping with the tribe and learn how they live in the jungle! If you come for a minimum of 2 weeks, you will have the opportunity to help teach the Batek children basic English, maths and science through educational activities. These sessions are great fun but serve an important function, as the area has been earmarked for an increase in tourism and without being able to speak English, these tribal people will not be able to benefit from the new industry.

Other Activities

Our volunteers and interns have plenty of scheduled activities to keep them busy! Such as English classes in the local village, exciting games of football with the Batek children, trips to the night market to sample yummy local Malay food, night drives to learn more about nocturnal organisms, and lastly a weekly conservation class.

Activities in your Free Time

We asked our past volunteers what they’d like to see more of in our programmes. When they said more activities to do in their free time, we jumped at the chance! Current mini projects include spreading awareness about conservation to local villagers, teaching local children about recycling, and honing leadership skills by briefing new volunteers on the project. If you think of a new idea while at the project, just tell the project manager!

What's Included
Accommodation
Activities
Meals
Transportation
What's Not Included
Airfare
Domestic Airfare
Airport Transfers
SIM cards
Travel Insurance
Visa

Breakfast tends to be simple; for instance bread, banana cake, coffee, tea, peanut butter, jam. Volunteers are welcome to venture out to some of the delicious local restaurants to try traditional Malay dishes – for instance Roti Canai is a popular and yummy Malaysian breakfast dish.

Lunch is usually had at the house. Feel free to use our weekly shopping supplies to create a tasty meal for yourself. Or if we are going trekking, a yummy packed lunch is prepared by a local restaurant. Options include Nasi Lemak, Nasi Sayur, Nasi Ayam, or Roti Telur and Roti Canai for vegetarians.

Volunteers take turns to prepare dinner once a week and all pitch in to clear up afterwards. Our volunteers come from around the world, so this is a great opportunities to sample cuisine from different countries and eat all together. For a true taste of Malaysian cooking we also host a weekly Malay meal; a truly unique experience to learn more about the Malaysian culture.

Lastly interns and volunteers will be able to go to the local night market once or twice a week to sample more local delicacies. Night markets are an essential part of the Malaysian food culture and thus an essential part of understanding what Malaysia is all about.

Staying in the communal accommodation means everyone has to join in with the cleaning and cooking schedule to keep the accommodation nice and tidy…and filled with yummy food!

Merapoh is a small town in Pahang, Malaysia and hosts an alternate entrance to the Teman Negara rainforest, which is the world’s oldest tropical rainforest.

You will be staying at our shared Fuze Ecoteer Flat in the small village of Merapoh. The flat has 3 bedrooms, a kitchen and a great roof top view for watching the stars! Phone reception is available at the accommodation area. There is also a free-to-use internet centre a few minutes walk from the accommodation.

Since the Merapoh Rainforest Station has been running we have…
Trekked over 1,000km, 2 to 4 times weekly
Discovered & deactivated More than 200 snares
GPS’ed more than 800 animal signs
Funded the building of a bamboo learning centre in the Batek village
Provided a stable source of income for the Batek via guided tours, promoting handicrafts to tourists etc

The Sungei Yu Forest Reserve forms part of a tiger corridor, which connects Taman Negara National Park and the main Titiwangsa Mountain Range. Poaching was high in this area, but thanks to patrols from MYCAT and Fuze Ecoteer, the project is successfully deterring poachers. However, jungle trekking for conservation is still needed, as significant poaching continues in the area.

The Merapoh Rainforest Station hope to continue to form valuable alliances with other organisations. We will keep providing valuable animal presence data (pugmarks, scratching etc.) to the University Science Malaysia for analysis, and to share with NGOs and researchers so all of us can continue working to reach our common goal.

Video

Pricing

One Week
$677 USD
Two Weeks
$1092 USD
Three Weeks
$1640 USD
Four Weeks
$1967 USD

Location

Location:
Malaysia
Currency:
Malaysian Ringgit
Weather:
Jan-Mar
90 F / 61 F
Apr-Jun
90 F / 66 F
Jul-Sep
86 F / 66 F
Oct-Dec
86 F / 63 F
Airports:
Kuala Lumpur International Airport
( KUL )

Malaysia is located partially on mainland Asia and the island of Borneo. The country is incredibly diverse with just over 50% of the people being Malay. This diversity has brought in a spread of different religions and lifestyles, which you can see in everything from the architecture to daily life.

Hosted by Fuze Ecoteer Outdoor Adventures

Fuze Ecoteer Outdoor Adventures is a travel company with a bite. Let us connect you to nature!

Our team members are all experienced & passionate people who love adventure and sharing their knowledge. Our business model utilizes revenue generated from voluntourism to establish self-sustaining conservation & community projects. The projects

Reviews

9.33 Rating
based on 24 reviews
  • Impact 8.4
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.1
  • Value 9
  • Safety 9
Showing 1 - 8 of 24
Default avatar
Adriana
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Rainforest Adventure

It was a very unique experience for me. I haven't been to the rainforest before, so it was challenging for me at the beginning, but I am glad I could meet the indigenous Batek tribe. We did a lot of jungle trekking, they thought us how to cook in bamboo, make a shelter (hayak), we have learned a lot about their culture and traditions (I wrote the whole article about Batek).

There is no other way to experience than through the project, so I think it's 100 % worth it!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Actually there were more things which were surprising, like cooking a bamboo, meeting the Batek Tribe, making the hayak, caving,...
Nearly every day there was some surprise!
Default avatar
Kai Hao
6/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Malayan Rainforest Station

The sights and sounds of life and biodiversity in the rainforest here are truly captivating. It was an amazing experience having the staff of MRS and people of the Bateq tribe to introduce me to the jungle, wildlife, and the way to appreciate the beauty and resources nature has to offer.
However, the planning and execution of the arranged activities could have been done better by explaining their significance to the volunteers. I was not convinced that the activities were scientifically based, as claimed by the MRS staff and website. Perhaps it was just not made obvious to me. Either way, that was what I would have liked to see and participate in, the scientific research in biodiversity conservation.

Raye
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Rhyl High School World Challenge July 2018

I was one of the school expedition Team Leader's who traveled with a team of students from Rhyl High School to Merapoh.

Our project was to help start the refurbishment of one of the houses, so that it can be used as a school house. It was great to have the Batek children getting involved and learning how to dispose of rubbish in the recycling bins we made.

We spent a morning with the Batek people in the Jungle, learning to wild fish and make bamboo tea. We also experienced how to track animals.

It was an absolutely amazing experience for everyone.

Joanna LaFrancesca
Joanna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A week in the jungle with Ecoteer

I volunteered with Fuze Ecoteer on the conservation program in Merapoh Malaysia, and it was absolutely amazing. Going into it, I wasn't sure what to expect. I've never been to Malaysia, nor had much experience with conservation work. I was interested in learning more and experiencing a new part of the world.

The Fuze Ecoteer staff were very helpful and supportive throughout the whole experience. The interns and volunteer coordinators at the project site were really knowledgable and passionate about conservation. It was as treat to experience the jungle through their eyes. Even though myself and another volunteer were there just for the week, we felt very welcomed by the staff and like we had been friends for much longer.

Some of my personal favorites from the week:

- Camping with the Batek! These women are incredible, we got to witness them building their shelter from the forest. Something I'll remember forever.
- The Malay dinner and night markets! I love Malay food (and the evening actives that involved food :) ) and interacting with the locals.
- Trekking in the forest with the group and being totally overwhelmed (in an awesome way) by the sounds, smells, sights of the jungle.
- Lastly, just taking in the views of the massive limestone rocks and caves from the back of the truck.

Merapoh is a magical spot, and Fuze does a really fantastic (and community-centric) job of showing it off. Highly recommend, feel free to email me with any questions!

Note: I am a Go Overseas employee, but the above review is an honest personal reflection of my recent volunteer trip with Fuze.

Karol
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

INDIGENOUS TRIBE - BATEK

Me and my friends were in Merapoh for few days but in the end we felt like we were there for a month. So much to see and Explore.

Thanks to ecoteer we had an amazing Opportunity to meet indigenous tribe - Batek, see a cave snake, Scorpions, take an offroad 4x4 ride, treeclimbing, and camping in a middle of a jungle. That was a big inapiration and that gaves us great memorys. Highly recommended! Amazing place, amazing crew, amazing views and storys about Batek like this when one lady from Batek community met a Tiger and she scuttled him by kicking a rock. Must to see and hear!

Default avatar
Ian
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Jun 18-Jul 9 2017

Loved:
1. treks
2. Batek,
3. Spotting animals & pug marks (saw tiger marks on 2 different treks)
4. bushcraft (blowdarts, lean-tos, bamboo cooking)
5. teaching English (3 X Batek & 1X Meraph village)
6.night markets
7. caving (one with waterfalls & climbing inside the best)
8. night drives (4 leopard cats, 2 x palm civets, 1 owl)
9. river swims
10. getting to know people on the project, local Malay, & Batek
11. Malay dinners

Suggestions for future volunteers:
1. use the local Cap Gajah rubber shoes for treks (best for muddy tracks, river crossing & easy access to remove leeches) 2. pack less (1 pair shorts, 1 short sleeve shirt, 3 pair underwear, 3 pair socks, 1 long sleeve shirt, 1 pair light but tough pants, swimwear, hat, sandals, sunglasses, strong bug repellent, 2 X 750 ml water bottles)
3. buy a SIM card with data for your smart phone,
4. Learn all you can when you're hear by reading (culture & lang of Malay & Batek, local wildlife, Malaysian history), asking questions, and talking to everyone you can.

I do hope to return one day, maybe not to Meraph, but definitely to another Ecoteer Malaysia project. You are doing important work and I have enjoyed my stay here in Merapoh and the time in 2012 in Perhentian at the Cmmty Proj there. Keep up the good work!

What would you improve about this program?
1. Sort out the trash & recycling (I helped to clear out a massive heap of recyclables during my stay & identified several sources of info in the village about trash pick up -- stores with dumpsters, villagers collecting glass)
2. Keep up the improvement projects on the roof (it has a lot of potential if you get more shade trees & some sort of shelter from wind/rain/sun, possible rain water harvesting)
3. Don't require your interns to regularly drive 12 hrs round-trip to drop folks at other projects (this is not a good use of their time & its a morale killer)
4. Buy some cheap solar chargers to reduce electricity costs & night vision goggles to make night drives more enjoyable
5. Consider doing night treks as these are offered by local adventure companies and will likely be more fruitful than drives
6. Engage more regularly with local Malay villagers. I and several other interns & volunteers were surprised how many villagers did not know anything about Ecoteer or the house. Maybe hold some local info sessions thru the mosque or just do regular walks thru the village talking to folks.
7. Better record keeping & hand-over of admin duties when people leave. I was told several times that I owed 5000RM after I paid GoOverseas & the Ecoteer person took several days just to confirm that I had indeed paid. Also, the Know Before You Go Guide & email contacts for the program were not updated properly. I booked in Aug 2016 and when I tried to reconnect in March/Apr 2017 it took me several weeks to find the right people to talk to about the project.
Default avatar
Jia Yi
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

First time camping out! It was AMAZING

The most memorable event during my visit is the camping. I was, and still am, a city girl. Before I went to Merapoh I have never tried camping, not to mention camping in a jungle with people I just met. I was there for 2 weeks, so I camped twice. The first time we went to an old campsite, so we didn't do much as the shelter was already there. All those months have passed but I still remember the beautiful scenery there. There was a nice river nearby, the floor wasn't crowded with shrubs and the trees, while tall and plenty, still allowed enough light to get through. It was the first time I got to eat bamboo rice: simple yet delicious. At night we chatted with the four Batek ladies. One of them, I think it's Katjai, I'm not sure, my memory is a bit fuzzy, and I probably spelled her name wrong..anyway, she was the most talkative of them all. It was her who taught me about her people, and I'm ashamed that even though I'm Malaysian, I know next to nothing about the bumiputera and their culture. She told us all kind of incredible stories that still make me smile.
The second time was not as great as the first, because the friends I made during the first week had left, also I caught a flu. But it was still nice because we learnt how to make the shelter..sort of, as the ladies did almost all the work while I just folded the leaves.
Oh! And caving! It was perfect! Like a little adventure. We went to 3 caves during the first week and I absolutely love it, especially the last one. The guides, after taking us through a labyrinth, threw up their hands and declared they didn't know how to get out! Only after they were satisfied that they took us out. They were so funny that no one could get mad at their prank.
The hostel was nice. The food was quite good, though not as good as my mom's cooking--no one cooks as good as my mum. The people there were warm and helpful, and patient--oh dear, I still remember that awkward moment when Helen handed me a cabbage while I was like, "Huh?? Cut? Into pieces? How???"
First-timer, if you are reading this, get a larger backpack (not a daypack) please. We were supposed to divide the stuff we needed for camping among us, but I brought a small one, so others had to take up more *guilty*

What would you improve about this program?
It was really really fun, and I enjoyed it very much. But I feel like I didn't do much for the conservation, it was like a normal visit during a holiday instead of volunteering for something good.
Default avatar
Alex
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Taman Negara Tiger Trail, Merapoh

Genuinely one of the best experiences of my entire life. Totally out of the comfort zone, but so worth it. The Fuze Ecoteer guys were awesome and made us feel totally welcome and at home; trekking through the jungle and camping was tough but so interesting; the activities were great fun, particularly climbing through the limestone caves; and helping teach the Batek kids English was amazing - wonderful to see they've now got a separate project for them.

All in all, I have amazing memories of Merapoh. Can't speak highly enough of the programme, and for such an amazing cause.

What would you improve about this program?
Simply more funding. Amazing work, but obviously could do more with better funding. So get involved!

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